An historic opportunity to obtain full employment is within reach: ACOSS welcomes the Jobs and Skills Summit

ACOSS welcomes the announcement of the Jobs and Skills Summit for early September, which will bring together civil society, unions, employers and government, and will look at expanding employment opportunities for the most disadvantaged, keeping unemployment low, addressing gender inequities, and maximising jobs and opportunities from the care economy, climate change and renewable energy.

This is an important opportunity for the Albanese government to secure full employment so that people seeking a job can get one and those seeking more hours can get them, incomes are increasing, and no-one is left behind. People who have been locked out of the labour market must be front and centre at the summit – people who are long-term unemployed, single parents, older people, people with disabilities, First Nations people, people seeking asylum, and people who’ve left the justice system – as well as the community organisations who work with and support them.

ACOSS Acting CEO Edwina MacDonald said

“As we continue to face increasing cost of living, we must ensure that we don’t lose momentum on achieving full employment.

“The Summit provides us all with a real opportunity to look at the underlying issues preventing people from getting any or enough decent paid work, and develop together an agreed strategy for achieving full employment.

“We haven’t had full employment in Australia for 50 years and we’re not there yet.

“Most of the growth in employment since the pandemic began has been in high-skilled jobs – such as managers and professionals – for which most people on income support payments are not qualified.

“People with disabilities, people who are long term unemployed and older people are at the back of the job queue, not because they aren’t trying, but because many employers are unwilling to give them a chance.

“Only consistently low unemployment and a fresh investment in robust workforce planning, decent employment services, appropriate training programs, and paid and relevant work experience will change that.”